Yesterday’s speech to the virtual Conservative party conference was classic Boris: amusing metaphors, whimsical slogans and grand rhetoric. The prime minister has pledged to usher in a “green industrial revolution” that will help us “bounce back greener” from Covid-19.
One of the most significant announcements was the scaling up of the offshore wind sector. The government intends to quadruple offshore wind capacity by 2030, with a promise to power all our kettles, lights and electric cars from clean, “guilt-free” electricity.
It is a bold and ambitious target, requiring the installation of one wind turbine every weekday for the next 10 years, costing almost GBP50bn in capital investment. If this sounds familiar, it’s because this commitment from the Tory party was already made in its 2019 election manifesto, with the full backing of the offshore wind industry.
The prime minister announced GBP160m for ports and infrastructure in Teesside and Humber, Scotland and Wales, needed to build and service these turbines, but if these plans are to benefit communities as well as reducing emissions, the goal must be to keep the jobs and manufacturing contracts in the UK. Just last month, contracts to manufacture the platforms for 114 wind turbines off the coast of Scotland were won by a US corporation that intends to manufacture and ship them from China and the UAE, taking advantage of lower production costs in those nations.